A Clare man on trial for murder told gardaí that he deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison, because the man he is alleged to have fatally stabbed was “going into a hole” in the ground.
Robbie Walsh (23), from Island View, Kilrush, Co Clare, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Karl Haugh (25) in the Marian Estate in Kilkee, Co Clare on August 6, 2017.
The Central Criminal Court has heard that Mr Haugh and a number of his friends had a confrontation with Robbie Walsh and his cousins, Mitchell Walsh and Clinton Walsh, near Mr Haugh’s house, following heated phone conversations earlier.
The jury has heard that the altercation immediately followed the vandalism of a Volkswagen Passat under the misapprehension that it belonged to Karl Haugh.
Giving evidence on Thursday, Garda David King told Patrick Gageby SC, for the prosecution, that he got a call at around 9.25am, hours after the incident, about windows being smashed at Robbie Walsh’s home.
As he arrived, he said Robbie Walsh’s mother told him, "I'm handing my son in".
At that point, Gda King said he heard Robbie Walsh’s voice from inside the house. Robbie Walsh said something along the lines of 'send me away for life’, according to the garda.
He said he arrested Robbie Walsh, cautioned him and put him in the patrol car where he sat beside him. While en route to Kilrush Garda Station, Robbie Walsh began to talk about the incident, the garda said.
Robbie Walsh told the garda in the back of the patrol car that he and Mitchell Walsh had called up to Karl Haugh's house to buy cocaine but Karl was being “a bollox” so he and Mitchell got scaffolding poles and smashed up Karl's car.
Gda King said the accused continued to tell him that he and Mitchell Walsh went around to a laneway behind the houses; Karl Haugh was there and he had a knife.
Robbie Walsh told the Garda that Karl got into a fight and dropped the knife. He told the Garda that Karl grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him in so 'I stabbed him in the back, just stuck the knife in him'.
Gda King said he arrived at the station and processed Robbie Walsh in the usual way. He said he formally charged Mr Walsh with assault causing serious harm and in reply, Robbie Walsh said 'nobody was meant to die that night’.
The jury also heard contents of memos of garda interviews conducted with Mr Walsh, the day after the incident.
Det Gda Brendan Rouine told Michael Hourigan BL, for the prosecution, that he interviewed Mr Walsh in Kilrush Garda Station and gave him the usual cautions, particularly about access to a solicitor.
In interview, the jury heard Mr Walsh told gardaí:
When asked what led to the event, Mr Walsh told the gardaí that his cousin, Clinton Walsh, had gone to Karl Haugh’s house to buy cocaine but that instead he was attacked by ten of Mr Haugh’s friends. Mr Walsh said his “only intention” for going up to the Marian Estate, was to “go up and break a few windows in Karl’s car”.
The jury heard Mr Walsh told gardaí that Mr Haugh “was dragging and pulling me, he’s known for knocking people out with one punch.”
Describing the incident, he said it “happened in a split second” and that after he swung the knife, he believed Mr Haugh to be okay because “he got back up,” the jury heard.
Mr Walsh also told gardai, the jury heard, that “no one was meant to die that night. I did not bring a knife with me.”
“We were in Kilrush walking around, we went out to Kilkee for a look. I hope I never see Kilkee again” he told gardaí, the jury heard.
When asked why he made the decision to hand himself in, Mr Walsh explained that he “looked on Facebook this morning and saw a 25-year-old man was stabbed in Kilkee and he died.”
Det Gda Ruane said it was made clear to Mr Walsh on numerous times that he could have access to a solicitor. In response, Mr Walsh told the garda: “the solicitor will just say keep your mouth closed but the solicitor does not know what happened.”
Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis also gave evidence on Thursday. He told Mr Gageby that Mr Haugh’s death was caused by a single stab wound to the left side of the lower chest area, in his back. His lung was punctured and he suffered massive bleeding.
Bridget Haugh, Karl Haugh’s mother, gave evidence to Mr Gageby that she was awoken early in the morning to news that her son had been hurt. She said she arrived at the A&E at Limerick University Hospital and got to see him.
She said her son was to be transported to hospital in Cork and they were on the road when they got a phone call to say his condition had deteriorated, and they should come back to Limerick. By the time they arrived back to Limerick, they learned that he had died.
She said that when she spoke to Karl, he kept telling her that he was going to be okay.
The jury heard that Bridget Haugh’s daughter died tragically in 2003. It had left only herself and Karl living in the Marian Estate.
The trial continues tomorrow before Ms Justice Marie Baker and a jury of five women and seven men.